Nucleus replacement by a synthetic material is a recent trend for treatment of lower back pain. Hydrogel nucleus implants were prepared with variations in implant modulus, height, and diameter. Human lumbar intervertebral discs (IVDs) were tested in compression for intact, denucleated, and implanted condition. Implantation of nucleus implants with different material and geometric parameters into a denucleated IVD significantly altered the IVD compressive stiffness. Variations in the nucleus implant parameters significantly change the compressive stiffness of the human lumbar IVD. Implant geometrical variations were more effective than those of implant modulus variations in the range examined.

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